ITHACA, N.Y. (March 26, 2013) – Afrika Bambaataa, Grandmaster Caz and other legends are coming back to Ithaca for the opening of the Cornell Hip Hop Collection’s first major exhibition and a community-wide celebration of hip-hop.
Joining them are MC Sha-Rock of the Funky Four + 1 More (the first influential female rapper), Rahiem of Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five (the first hip-hop group inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame), JDL of the Cold Crush Brothers, Crazy Legs and Popmaster Fabel of the Rock Steady Crew, the GZA of the Wu-Tang Clan, Breakbeat Lou and TATS Cru — just to name a few.
The exhibition kicks off Ithaca’s community-wide “Hip Hop: Unbound from the Underground” celebration and features artifacts from Cornell University Library’s collection. It’s the world’s largest archive on the birth and spread of hip-hop culture, which turns 40 in 2013.
Exhibition highlights include:
- Research footage, original artwork, photography and film production notes from 1983’s “Wild Style,” the first feature film about hip-hop culture, directed by Charlie Ahearn;
- Blackbooks and drawings by Golden Age graffiti writers, such as Iz the Wiz and SEEN;
- Early sound recordings of live jams and examples of the first wave of hip-hop on wax;
- Original flyer artwork by Buddy Esquire, “The King of the Flyer”;
- The work of celebrated filmmakers and photographers, including Joe Conzo, Ernie Paniccioli, Jamel Shabazz and Janette Beckman; and
- Items on loan from friends of the Hip Hop Collection, including never-before-seen clips of the earliest-known film footage of a hip-hop performance, shot by Timothy C. Brown Sr.; an interactive audio recording session of “Louder than a Bomb,” provided by Johnny Juice of Public Enemy; and Rahiem’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction statue.
“Now Scream!” opens on Thursday, April 4 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in Kroch Library, level 2B. On Friday, it will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and it will have extended gallery hours on Saturday, April 6 and Sunday, April 7 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. It is free and open to the public.
The Hip Hop Collection is also hosting a series of events as part of “Unbound from the Underground,” including:
- “Soulsonic Space Sounds” jam, featuring Bambaataa, Caz and JDL of the legendary Cold Crush Brothers, and Breakbeat Lou, co-founder of the “Ultimate Breaks & Beats.” The Haunt, 702 Willow Ave. Thursday, April 4, 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. In association with Dan Smalls Presents.
- A public panel discussion featuring Bambaataa, MC Sha-Rock, Rahiem and Timothy C. Brown Sr. Willard Straight Theater. Friday, April 5, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Free.
- A 30th-anniversary screening of “Wild Style,” with a panel discussion featuring the director, Charlie Ahearn, and stars in the film, Caz and JDL of the Cold Crush Brothers, and Crazy Legs of the Rock Steady Crew. Cinemapolis, 120 E. Green St. Friday, April 5, 9 p.m. to midnight. In association with the Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival.
All events are open to the public, and most are free. The weekend is sponsored by a host of Ithaca organizations, including Cornell University Library.
The Hip Hop Collection opened in 2007, and it has grown to more than 50,000 items documenting the growth and spread of hip-hop culture through recordings, photographs, posters and more. The collection has been integrated into multiple Cornell courses and attracts a steady stream of researchers and visitors.
“The great thing about this exhibition is that there is something for everyone,” said Ben Ortiz, assistant curator of the Hip Hop Collection. “Hip-hop heads will love the artifacts that tell the story of the culture they know and love, and the uninitiated will get a good sense of what hip-hop is all about — its art, its history, its people.”
The exhibition and associated events are funded by the generous support of the Stephen ’58, MBA ’59 and Evalyn Edwards ’60 Milman Exhibition Fund, Ronni Lacroute ’66, Johan Kugelberg, and Jon A. and Virginia Lindseth ’56. “Now Scream!” runs through Feb. 4, 2014.
To learn more
For more about the exhibition, visit PreservingHipHop.org. For more about the weekend of events, visit UnboundFromTheUnderground.com. For Cornell University Library, visit library.cornell.edu.